A lot of questions can come with paying or receiving child support. After all, it's a new part of your life that you've never had to navigate, so it's only natural that there will be aspects of it that you're not sure how to handle. Ultimately, child support is designed for the best interests of your kids, so make sure you have a full understanding of how it works and what is required. Some common questions come up when discussing the details of child support; let's take a look at some of them:
- How do I actually make my child support payments? Paying your child support is a lot like paying any other bill you have in that you make a payment to a company rather than a specific person. In this case, instead of paying your ex directly, you make payments to the court through N.C. Centralized Collections. This allows for accurate record keeping, which protects both parties. If you are paying child support, your payment can be deducted from your pay by your employer and forwarded to N.C. Centralized Collections. If you are receiving child support, your child support can be direct deposited in your bank account.
- Does the child support agreement have to happen in court? Surprisingly no, you do not have to discuss the payment structure during your time in court. As long as you and your spouse can agree on the amount of support provided, you can create your plan separately in writing. You can enter into a Voluntary Support Agreement which is signed by both parents and signed by a Judge, which makes it a court order. However, either of you have the right to request a hearing at any time. For some people, a court order is the best option to insure that the child support is actually paid.
- Can the amount of child support be changed? Once the child support order is entered, it can be changed if there is a substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the original order. There are a variety of factors when it comes to child support, including income, housing costs, and the basic needs of children as they get older.
- What if I refuse to pay child support? Consequences can vary if you refuse to pay child support, but when it is a legal requirement of your divorce, you will be held accountable for back payment. You can be held in contempt of court and ordered to pay the other party's attorney fees. Continuing to refuse payment can result in wage garnishments or even imprisonment.
- How long do I have to make my child support payments? In North Carolina, child support is required until your child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school, whichever happens last. In some cases, your child support obligation can continue until the child reaches age 20 if they have not yet graduated high school. There is no way to get around making child support payments; what you owe cannot be written off in a bankruptcy filing or negated if either spouse remarries.
Unfortunately, child support is often viewed as a burden and people pay it begrudgingly. Remember that if you are ordered to pay child support, it is for the well-being and stability of your kids' life. It's your responsibility to pay your child support to make sure you contribute to their needs equally as much as their other parent.
Child support can be complex, so if you have questions, we are here to help. Contact us today to make sure you are serving your kids in the best way possible.